Gold Coast local Casey Barnes takes out the P&O People’s Choice Award for the second time

Over 135 live shows from close to 60 artists lit up Broadbeach as Groundwater Country Music Festival (CMF) celebrated ten years of country music on the Gold Coast. The award-winning festival saw tens of thousands of music fans coming together to watch their favourite artists and share a love of country music. One performance, by one standout artist was voted by fans as best in show!

 On the 2023 lineup were some of the Australia’s best and most loved country acts plus some incredible international guests but it was local sensation Casey Barnes, who was announced as the winner of the 2023 P&O People’s Choice Award. Ironically, Casey got his first big break playing at Groundwater CMF (formerly Broadbeach Country Music Festival) in 2014.

This is the second time Casey Barnes has won the hearts of fans at Groundwater CMF having been the recipient of the inaugural P&O People’s Choice Award in 2019.

His performance, personality and passion ignited the Surf Parade Stage last Friday night captivating the crowd of thousands, that included his own family.

“I am absolutely blown away to take out this year’s P&O People’s Choice Award at Groundwater CMF!” said Casey Barnes. “We were only saying yesterday that Friday night’s show easily will go down as one of my absolute favourites of my career to date… it was such a special night. There’s nothing better than a hometown crowd and it was even more special to have my entire family there too. A huge thank you to all the fans who voted and have supported this amazing festival over the last 10 years and a massive congrats to Mark Duckworth and the entire team on another incredible event!

Groundwater CMF, along with the festival’s Support Partner P&O Cruises, invited festival goers to show their love and appreciation by voting for their favourite artist across the three-day festival. With an epic lineup including Lee Kernaghan, Amber Lawrence, Adam Harvey & Beccy Cole, The Wolfe Brothers, USA sensation Jackson Dean and of course Gold Coast local Casey Barnes it was always going to be a tight race to the finish line.

“The P&O People’s Choice Award has become a popular part of the Groundwater CMF experience, with thousands of entries coming in throughout the festival,” said Mark Duckworth, Festival Director. Casey has been a festival favourite for some time, so it doesn’t surprise me that he has taken out this fan-nominated award for the second time. Casey’s headline show this year was a lot of fun, drawing huge crowds and the band were on fire!”

2023 has been a continuation of wins for Casey Barnes, having picked up Golden Guitar Award wins for Album of the Year and Top Selling Album of the Year for his latest album, Light It Up along with the APRA Award for Most Performed Country Work and the 2022 ARIA Award for Best Country Album. Now with a second P&O People’s Choice Award under his belt there seems to be no stopping this local sensation who is now also making major inroads in the US.

Casey is not the only winner, one very lucky voter has won a holiday for two onboard P&O Cruises’ Country Music Cruise, departing from Brisbane on 30 November 2024.

“We are delighted to have once again joined forces with Groundwater Country Music Festival to celebrate Australia’s remarkable country music talent,” said Ryan Taibel, Vice President Sales & Partnerships of P&O Cruises Australia. “While all performances throughout the festival were incredible, Casey Barnes sung just the right tune, winning fans’ hearts, and votes. From the entire P&O Cruises team, thank you for all who voted and congratulations Casey on receiving this year’s People’s Choice Award.”  

Groundwater CMF returns to the Gold Coast from 18-20 October 2024 ready to bring music lovers yet another huge three days of the best of Australian country music and no doubt some more incredible international acts.

Groundwater CMF shares it success with its 2023 Sponsor Family – City of Gold Coast, Tourism and Events Queensland, P&O Cruises, Gold Coast Airport, Clean Vibes, EVENTelec, KIX Country, 102.9 Hot Tomato, the Yugambeh Region Aboriginal Corporation Alliance (YRACA) and our Charity Partner Drought Angels.

Groundwater CMF is supported by the Queensland Government via Tourism and Events Queensland and is a feature on the It’s Live! in Queensland events calendar.

Groundwater Country Music Festival stamps a decade of success

With 1300 songs, 135 live shows and close to 60 homegrown and international artists across 15 stages, Groundwater Country Music Festival 2023 was a party to remember.

Tens of thousands of music fans flocked to the Gold Coast to help with the ten-year celebrations. The crowds and atmosphere over the past three days reflecting Australia’s growing love affair with country music. It’s not surprising considering Australia has one of the biggest fan bases in the world.

Australian country music royalty Lee Kernaghan, Amber Lawrence, Adam Harvey and Beccy Cole, The Wolfe Brothers and Gold Coast local Casey Barnes were among a stacked lineup that also featured the next wave of Australian Country artists.

“Ten years ago, we went out on a limb and put on a country music festival on the Gold Coast. Since then, country music has exploded into one of the most popular music genres in Australia and it is exciting to see our festival heaving with new and loyal fans.” – Mark Duckworth, Festival Director.

From Paul Thorn in 2013 to US sensation Jackson Dean in 2023, having an international flavour to the festival’s program over the past ten years has helped cement Groundwater CMF within the Australian country music scene.

“I don’t think you can turn down an opportunity to go play in Australia. It’s awesome that as far south as south goes, English speaking, there’s a crowd that knows some words to my songs. It’s a dream come true to play on the beautiful Gold Coast at Groundwater Country Music Festival.” – Jackson Dean, artist.

USA Country Music legends Asleep at the Wheel and Canada’s Dungarees also bolstered the international program with acclaimed singer-songwriters Melissa Carper and Summer Dean.

Since the festival’s inception, it has welcomed close to 400 country acts and has been a springboard for emerging artists.

“I have watched this festival grow over the five years I have been there and there’s no doubt Groundwater CMF is one of the best country music festivals in Australia. It’s a real honour to be on this lineup because there are such amazing Australian artists like Lee Kernaghan, The Wolfe Brothers, Casey Barnes and incredible international artists, like Jackson Dean, so to have that high calibre of artists on the Gold Coast playing at a free country music festival is amazing.” – Chloe Styler, artist.

Groundwater CMF first timer Sara Berki had to ‘pinch’ herself during the KIX LIVE – Songwriters segment. Perched on stage in between Jackson Dean and Amber Lawrence while watching the performances of idol Adam Harvey it was a moment she’ll never forget.

“I literally cannot believe I am already in the company of my idols. Groundwater is making my dreams a reality.” – Sara Berki, artist

It wasn’t just music lovers that benefited, local businesses were also heaving. As the popularity of the country music genre and the love for Groundwater CMF continues to surge, it will be exciting to see what evolves in the next ten years.

Groundwater CMF wraps after another successful year with thanks to our Sponsor Family – City of Gold Coast, Tourism and Events Queensland, P&O Cruises, Gold Coast Airport, Clean Vibes, EVENTelec, KIX Country, 102.9 Hot Tomato, the Yugambeh Region Aboriginal Corporation Alliance (YRACA) and our charity partner Drought Angels.

Groundwater CMF is supported by the Queensland Government via Tourism and Events Queensland and is a feature on the It’s Live! in Queensland events calendar.

Bumper month of major events on the Gold Coast set to attract 100,000 people

Up to 100,000 people are expected to attend major events on the Gold Coast in October and November injecting approximately $75 million into the local economy as the city hosts four huge events over four consecutive weekends.

The bumper month starts with a punch this Sunday 15 October when Australian boxing sensation Tim Tszyu defends his WBO world title against American champion Brian Mendoza. Five days later (20-22 October) country meets the coast as Groundwater Country Music Festival celebrates ten years of country music on the Gold Coast. The following weekend (27-29 October) the supercars return to the streets of Surfers Paradise as the Boost Mobile Gold Coast 500 roars back into the city. Then on 4 November one of the most successful singer-songwriters and performers of all time Paul McCartney will perform on the Gold Coast for the first time as part of his acclaimed ‘Got Back’ Tour.

“After a massive month of events in September, we’re certainly not slowing down this month with a major event scheduled every weekend from now through to early November,” said Major Events Gold Coast Interim Executive Director Avril Harris. “Hosting some of the biggest international sporting and music events, back-to-back, provides a great boost to our city’s growing reputation as an events destination, while simultaneously injecting approximately $75M into our economy”.

The Gold Coast’s event calendar for the next month is extraordinary and proves why this city is quickly becoming known as the ultimate events destination,” said Acting CEO of Experience Gold Coast Rachel Hancock. “Already well known around the world as an incredible destination to holiday in, these events provide another great reason to visit the Gold Coast, with up to 70,000 out of region visitors expected over the four weekends“.

On 15 October the eyes of boxing fans all over the world will be firmly focused on the blockbuster bout taking place at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre. Tszyu’s last world title fight on the Gold Coast in June against Mexican Carlos Ocampo was a sell-out and tickets for his upcoming clash against Mendoza are selling quickly.

“It’s an honour to be fighting on the Gold Coast for the second time this year in what is likely my last fight on home soil for a long time,” Tim Tszyu said. “The place goes absolutely crazy for big events like this and has everything fans – and fighters – would want when it comes to combining a world title fight and a good time.”

“It’s also the most important fight of my career as for the first time I’ll enter the ring as a full world champion and be defending my belt against the highly respected and dangerous American opponent, Brian Mendoza.”

Some other well-known American names will be in town the following weekend for Groundwater Country Music Festival (CMF) from 20-22 October. Rising US star Jackson Dean and 10-time Grammy Award-winning country music legends Asleep at the Wheel will join the best of Australia’s country artists including Lee Kernaghan, Casey Barnes and Amber Lawrence for the three-day festival in Broadbeach. The award-winning Groundwater CMF will feature more than 50 artists across 15 stages and venues with music fans making the pilgrimage from right across the country to enjoy the free live music by the beach.

This year is going to be really special as we celebrate ten years,” said Groundwater CMF Festival Director Mark Duckworth. “The festival started as a unique and humble concept to bring some country music to the city, to watch the festival grow into a multi-award-winning event with a loyal tribe of fans makes the Groundwater team incredibly proud.

Groundwater CMF

From 27 October, things really get moving as the Boost Mobile Gold Coast 500 kicks into gear promising three days and nights of on and off-track action, and entertainment for all ages. In 2022 record crowds of more than 200,000 fans turned out to experience this iconic street race and organisers say this year will be their most exciting yet.

Everything is coming together for one of the biggest Boost Mobile Gold Coast 500s we’ve ever staged. Fans will get up close with the brand new Gen3 Chevrolet Camaros and Ford Mustangs that will be roaring around this famous street circuit from 27-29 October,” said Supercars CEO Shane Howard.

There will be something for everyone, including three nights of world-class entertainment within the track precinct featuring some of the biggest live music acts from around the country. We can’t wait to see fans lining the Surfers Paradise Street circuit once again for Queensland’s biggest annual sporting event.

To top off a huge couple of months of major events, Paul McCartney will bring his phenomenal ‘Got Back’ Tour to Heritage Bank Stadium on Saturday 4 November. The Gold Coast performance will be the final stop on the legendary music icon’s Australian tour with only limited tickets left for this once-in-a-lifetime event.

Major Events Gold Coast has successfully built a diverse and vibrant annual calendar of world-class music, sporting and cultural events, including those listed above. Check it out below.